Consumers Welcome Digital Movies in Theaters Near Portsmouth, NH

New England cinemas and those across the country have mostly made the conversion to digital cinema in the last decade. The standard of celluloid film and analog film projectors has been replaced after a hundred years of use.

The ambience of the theater has changed along with the technology. Not even the last row in the audience will hear the constant clicking of the projector as the movie plays. Neither will the audience see the cigarette burns that appear as the reels are changed, the scratches on the film nor the debris that might fall into the projector. Also gone are the frequent problems with the gears of the projector which would cause visual errors or jam.

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Many moviegoers might be surprised to find out that projectionists are actually quite rare these days. The movies are generally screened from digital movie theater projectors attached to a hard drive loaded with a high-resolution copy of the movie. Some theaters also obtain movies through the use of high-speed internet, dedicated satellite links or optical disks. All of these changes tend to be viewed as improvements by those in the audience that have been aware of the changes.

Digital cinema does have drawbacks although it is mostly the theater owners that have to suffer them. It tends to be primarily the costs involved that give the owners some pause. Up until Hollywood's decision to produce only digital cinema in 2014 a lot of theaters felt that the cost of DCI compliant projectors was too high.

Frame resolution, image bit rates, color space, compression and audio have been evaluated by the DCI to determine requirements to meet with its compliance. Most of the major motion pictures studios joined together in 2002 to form the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI). The purpose of the DCI was to ensure the quality of a film by requiring theaters to meet specific standards.

Most theaters, including the movie theaters near Portsmouth, New Hampshire, have opted to accept the DCI and the expense that comes with it. Over 38,000 screens--out of over 39,000 screens in the United States--had been converted for digital cinema by the spring of 2015.

It was not uncommon for the conversion costs to add up to $100,000 per screen. Most of the expense involved relies on the cost of the projection units, the projector, the lamp and the lenses--typically sold separately--totaling $30,000 - $40,000 per unit.

Along with the DCI standards, a theater needs to consider screen size, brightness and film format being used to find the proper projector for them. A 35 feet wide screen, for example, will need a higher lumen level than smaller screens and so require a different brightness for the bulb.

Of course, it is the movie studios that control the path of the industry and going digital for themselves can actually save them money. Using servers from theaters linked up to the studio theater can save a studio from having to make multiple prints of a film, for example. It's probably safe to assume that as long as the studios are controlling the situation and it is profitable, digital cinema will be around.